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- 2. Literature Review International Journal of Applied Exercise Physiology www.ijaep.com
- International Journal of Applied Exercise Physiology www.ijaep.com
- 3. Materials and Methods Objective
- 4. Results and Discussion
Keywords: Culture-Specific Vocabulary, The Native (Evenki) Language, Study Guide, Younger
Schoolchildren, Reindeer Herding.
In conditions of the upgrade of general and secondary education, the priority focus areas have been
determined for the current time span to be the preservation of lifestyle (both nomadic and sedentary),
traditional knowledge and the native language of the Evenki ethnos.
The nomadically living ethnoses have amassed the traditional knowledge of the native language,
folklore, folk crafts, customs and traditions; in the contemporary world, however, the real danger of losing
both the language and the traditional knowledge persists.
Where there is no traditional knowledge, the rising generation loses the binding thread to the
centuries-old culture of their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers.
The distinctive sign of the contemporary period is the Russian scientists' vast interest in the traditional
knowledge. This is a convincing historical fact of longevity and relevance of the traditional knowledge of the
ethnoses inhabiting the North, Siberia, and the Far East of the Russian Federation. This problem is discussed
in the studies by O. A. Murashko (2005), K. B. Klokov et al. (2012), V. V. Podmaskin (1998), L. V. Khomich
(1974), and G. P. Kharyuchi (2012) representing the traditional knowledge of the Nenets and Udege peoples
associated with the nature and reverence of the environment, as well as the sacral aspects of the folk
medicine, in a broad, scientific and valid way.
It is in the culture-specific vocabulary bearing the distinctions of the national and cultural views of the
world that the connection between language and traditional knowledge manifests itself the most vividly.
Each people has its ethnic view of the world of its own. In Evenki, just like in other peoples, the view of the
world is absorbed by the children from the earliest age without any specially organized institutions. It can be
stated that it is learned naturally, every time and everywhere, too, during the most diverse processes of
adults and children's interaction. So one's own image of the world is created having a certain structure and
functional interrelation of all parts. The view of the world is expressed through philosophy, literature,
mythology (the contemporary one included), and ideology. It manifests itself via people's actions and
explanation of one's actions and intentions (Nikitina, 2012, pp. 19-20) that are reflected in culture-specific
2. Literature Review
International Journal of Applied Exercise Physiology
VOL. 8 (2.1)
Culture-specific vocabulary is studied in the works of E. M. Vereshchagin, V. G. Kostomarov (1990),
S. Vlakhov, S. F. Florin (1986), A. R. Valeeva (2016), M. Benson et al. (1990), et al. Their studies are presented
as classifications of culture-specific words incorporated in the vocabulary.
"Words containing the sociocultural component are called culture-specific. They are the carrier of
information about the world view and traditional knowledge of speakers of the language so they are of a
high interest from the standpoint of linguoculturology as well as lexical semantics, contrastive linguistics
and other branches of the science of language" (Yashina, 2009, pp. 192-199).
There are several classifications of culture-specific vocabulary: thematic, syntactic. The thematic
classification includes such sections as geographic realia, ethnographic, social and political ones. The names
of physical geography objects, names of animals and plants belong to the geographic subgroup. In the
ethnographic group, there are words of the daily life sphere: names of foods, beverages, clothes, housing,
furniture, daily use articles, and transport.
In the contemporary linguistics, they mean by culture-specific vocabulary the words denoting realia,
objects and phenomena of only one culture and people not existing in other cultures, e.g. in Belorussian /
English languages: andarak, pan – there are designation for these words in various cultures but the national
background does not coincide precisely (Gladkova, 1997).
In conditions of the information world, upbringing and teaching children are aimed at enhancing their
In order to work with culture-specific vocabulary of any ethnos, the difficulties of understanding
another culture, lifestyle, traditions and customs have to be borne in mind, as well as ones associated with
the lack of background knowledge. So, for eliminating the difficulties, it is essential to perform some
preliminary work with the unknown realia using an etymological dictionary, visual aids, translating the
interpretation of words in one's mother tongue and contrasting it with other languages, because children of
the North speak Evenki, Russian, and sometimes the Yakut language.
The importance of consistently including the culture-specific vocabulary into study guides is
recognized. This is one of the important ways for shaping the national self-consciousness, character, for
upbringing a linguistic identity. The author tried to select the culture-specific words reflecting the specific
nature of traditional culture of the Evenki ethnos in textbooks for primary school, such as daily life,
traditional clothes, food, and folk festivals. It should be emphasized that essentially, the native language
textbooks have all of the above, although in a scattered way. The native language textbooks are designed for
teaching the Evenki native language. The material of the textbooks is aimed at cultural and linguistic
adaptation of the learners and allows organizing the work on the basic vocabulary.
When classifying the Evenki culture-specific vocabulary, the author adhered to V. S. Vinogradov's
classification (1978, p. 1) that reflects the material culture of peoples. Based on this, the classification of
culture-specific words of the Evenki ethnos into topics – dwelling, household buildings, property, clothes,
food, names of deer according to age, names of harness items, holidays etc. – was opted for.
The culture-specific vocabulary of the Evenki language in primary school textbooks was studied.
1) dwelling: du – a dwelling, a house; ilumu – a chum (a cone-shaped tent) covered with reindeer skin
2) household buildings: iruka – poles for pitching the cone-shaped tent; nekun – granary and others;
3) clothes: oi – clothing; teti – outer garments (coat, kaftan, jacket); dudika – a long winter coat with fur
outside (for men and women); muka – a women's coat with fur on both sides; hakui – a national men's
winter coat; eŋēr – a hooded upper garment made of autumn reindeer fur without fastenings, and others.
These words are realia naming items and objects that are characteristic for the life of the Evenki ethnos;
being carriers of the national coloring, they have no exact correspondence in other languages.
The Evenki language is described by the authors of textbooks, scientists V. I. Tsintsius, T. K. Kopyrina
(1989), K. A. Novikova (1960), V. D. Lebedev (1978), V. A. Robbek (2008), A. A. Burykin (2002), A. A. Petrov
(2017), A. L. Malchukov (2008), and A. V. Krivoshapkin (2002; Krivoshapkin & Keimetinova, 1977).
The realia words are gradually updated and expanded in the textbooks of Evenki.
The textbook for grade 1 contains the following culture-specific words: 57 realias: du – the traditional
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dwelling of the Evenki, 7 cases repeated in the texts; oi – clothes – nelik (bib, apron), unta (footwear), avun
(cap) – 14 realias (Burykin, 2002; Petrov, 2017). Attention is paid to communication, mastering the native
speech, the development of speaking, reading and writing skills. For example: Nonan, herepčev avun, hairu,
nelu, untav ičukenni (She showed an embroidered cap, gloves, apron and high fur boots). The Evenki
national clothing is described which differs greatly in the material, sewing method, shapes and names of the
clothes items from that of other peoples.
At grade 2, there is the highest quantity of realia words, 124. At this age, the understanding of the
world and spiritual culture of the ethnos are passed on extensively. So the textbook features the most realia
words on the topic du - the traditional dwelling of the Evenki (traditional buildings, names of places for
sleeping) – 22 words; alik, nina, takaruk (kitchen utensils) – 11 words etc.
There are some exercises after reading the text: answering the questions on the content, explaining the
meaning of words, for example, yavčidjak (night pasturing), yavčimŋa (a night herder), kōsčidjak (day
pasturing) and so on. Such exercises motivate the students to use the culture-specific words (Robbek, 2008).
At grades 3 and 4, it is achieving the practical mastery of the language that is the aim. So the
schoolchildren study out adjectives representing various types of attributes of objects in the exercises, work
on verbs from the text, ask questions on the text, they learn to explain, analyze and make conclusions. The
texts are oriented to studying the basic grammar and vocabulary topics of the Evenki language. E.g., Nelke
njamičan tugedireken, yavčidjak ovattan (In spring, when the deer are fawning, night pasturing is
organized) (Krivoshapkin, 2002; Nikitina, 2015c).
The initial stage of teaching the culture-specific vocabulary contains the most common culturological
material tailored into topics which make up the basis of speech practice and determine the content of the
3. Materials and Methods
Objective: studying the culture-specific vocabulary in teaching Evenki to children.
1) studying the scientific works on culture-specific vocabulary;
2) studying and analyzing the culture-specific vocabulary in textbooks of Evenki;
3) exploring and using the culture-specific words in teaching children at schools of the North;
4) selecting the culture-specific vocabulary from the "Lessons from ancestors" study guide;
5) organizing the pilot testing work with the use of the author's "Lessons from ancestors" study guide
built with culture-specific words on reindeer herding.
At the teaching stage, the technique of using the study guides implementing the culture-specific words
at the classes was studied in detail by means of observation, research and practical work in conditions of the
4. Results and Discussion
Since the 1990s, the Concept of updating and developing the national schools of the Republic of Sakha
(Yakutia) has been there to play a positive part in the process of upbringing and educating the children of
In these conditions, some positive change in the life activity of the small-numbered ethnoses had to be
introduced for the natural and spiritual basic principles to continue in children and for their natural nomadic
roots where they can outperform even the adults in their traditional knowledge and skills to never be lost. It
is solving the language problem that has to rank first. Only in this case the spirituality and the cultural
heritage will be preserved.
As Z. I. Kovaleva (1998), the leading editor of Saint-Petersburg Prosveshchenie publishers who has
dedicated all her life to teaching the Evenki language, points out in her article, "For solving this problem we
have to complete a number of tasks, the major of which is creating study guides to serve as a source of the
children's knowledge about their ancestors, their centuries-old practices and spiritual culture" (pp. 237-239).
For resolving the language problem, studying Evenki by means of culture-specific words occupies an
important place. Hence the Institute of national schools of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) conducted a
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research of the use of culture-specific vocabulary in teaching children at schools of the North. The toolkit of
the research was the "Lessons from ancestors" ("Hopkil binitēn") study guide (Nikitina, 2015b).
The content of the "Lessons from ancestors" study guide is aimed at expanding the children's outlook,
enhancing their interest in studying the Evenki language and traditional skills. The study guide consists of
two parts. The first one contains a thematic selection of pictures with a plot and figural ones aimed at giving
the children an idea about the specific nature of the hunting and economic pattern of life of their ancestors
and their unique culture.
The study guide includes the most commonly used vocabulary reflecting the particularities of the
traditional activity – reindeer herding.
The culture-specific words in the "Lessons from ancestors" study guide were selected. The culture-
specific vocabulary is presented, with the minimum of culturological information to know for correctly
perceiving and using the Evenki words included with the translation. It is clear from the examples that not
all dictionaries explain the meanings of culture-specific words. While the culture-specific word "fur coat" (lit.
shuba) is known to many readers and requires no additional clarification, in this case, "dudika", a culture-
specific Evenki word, is difficult for understanding and requires a thorough translation for rendering the
meaning: a long winter coat with fur outside (for men and women). Such dictionaries are created in order to
satisfy the students' need of communicating with each other.
In Evenki, there are words and linguistic units that can reflect a particular cultural component on
reindeer herding. For instance, the non-equivalent vocabulary rendering the particular cultural component
on the topic "Work of reindeer herders": wilduke – deer caravan team, as for food: horča (smoked deer meat
for long-term storage), kebel (thickened deer milk obtained by a folk method). These culture-bound words
given in the native language textbooks and serving for expressing notions that are absent in other cultures
are not translated. G. D. Tomakhin (1988) defines the culture-bound words as words serving for expressing
the notions lacking in another culture and as a rule not translated with one word (p. 5).
Pilot testing work was conducted in three stages in grades 1-4.
In the 2015-2016 academic year, the first stage was completed: scientific literature was studied, the
native Evenki language textbooks and study guides and a further reader on the research topic were
In the academic year 2016-2017, summative stage was performed. The objective of this stage was to
find out how study guides and textbooks containing the culture-specific words were used in the educational
process. The "Lessons from ancestors" study guide for grades 1-4 was reissued that contains culture-specific
vocabulary on the traditional economic activities of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North. At
this stage of the research, the accessibility of using the culture-specific words at the lessons for the students
was checked. Consulting sessions and individual talks with teachers were conducted for preparing and
carrying out the third, teaching and control, stage of the research.
The formative and control stage of the research was completed in the 2017-2018 academic year. The
objective of this research stage was to identify the efficiency of using for classes the "Lessons from ancestors"
study guide that contains culture-specific vocabulary on reindeer herding.
So, at the control stage, the efficiency of using for classes the "Lessons from ancestors" study guide was
checked and the validity was evaluated concerning the results obtained in mastering the words for shaping
the culture-specific vocabulary.
Visiting the classes has allowed finding out that most teachers do use the culture-specific words when
teaching the native language but regrettably the work is conducted in a fragmented way and the teachers
have no clear program of work for achieving this goal.
At the summative stage, the Guidelines for the "Lessons from ancestors" study guide containing the
culture-specific vocabulary on the topic "Summer nomad camp" Djugarap nulgedēk (Nikitina, 2015a, p. 32)
– inuče - harnessed (transportation) one;
– kanka – a saddle for children (who can sit up independently);
– emgun – a saddle for riding a deer.
At this stage, it has been found out that the younger schoolchildren do not quite understand the
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essence of the content of culture-specific vocabulary on reindeer herding. This is due to the culture-specific
words being used at the classes in an inconsistent manner.
Based on the summative experiment conducted, the following conclusions can be made:
– most students feature a low level of formation of culture-specific vocabulary on reindeer herding;
– on the part of teachers, the culture-specific vocabulary is included into the educational process
without their knowing the key features at the necessary level.
The results of the summative stage show that students have encountered some difficulties when
culture-specific vocabulary on the the traditional economic activities of the indigenous peoples of the North,
reindeer herding, was used at the classes. Therefore, it is essential to teach them both independent and joint
activity for the younger schoolchildren to form their culture-specific vocabulary on reindeer herding. For
this, the author of the paper conducted the initial assessment of the formation level of the culture-specific
vocabulary on reindeer herding using the "Lessons from ancestors" study guide.
The following culture-specific vocabulary formation levels were determined as a means for checking
at the summative and teaching stages of this research:
Level I – the learners study the culture-specific words under the teacher's guidance and based on
Level II – the learners perform practical and research works for studying the culture-specific
Level III – the learners explore the culture-specific vocabulary.
The results of diagnosing assessment at the summative stage have shown that the knowledge of
culture-specific words is at a low level in the majority of students. Similarly, the diagnosing assessment
results have allowed making a conclusion about the fact that at schools of the North 79% of teachers have an
idea about the "culture-specific vocabulary" notion but most teachers do not use it to the full extent when
teaching the "Native language" subject.
Analyzing the scientific literature and the data of the summative stage conducted have allowed
developing the content and technique of the formative stage.
The objective of the teaching stage was to prepare conditions for implementing the "Lessons from
ancestors" study guide for elementary grades of schools of the North.
At the teaching stage, it is important to teach the younger schoolchildren to study, watch, and explore
the culture-specific vocabulary on reindeer herding, as it is "an opportunity to promote in fact the
preservation and development of reindeer herding as an original culture of the indigenous small-numbered
peoples of the North" (Fedorov, 2018).
Meanwhile, it is reindeer herding that is the object of studying. In this respect, the most important part
is the joint activity of students and the teacher using the culture-specific vocabulary during the classes.
At grades 3-4, the schoolchildren directed by the teacher explore and use in practice the culture-
specific words, while also learning the new during such work.
At the teaching stage, the technique of using study guides that implement culture-specific vocabulary
at the classes has been described. One of the tools designed both for students and for the children is the
guidelines for the "Lessons from ancestors" study guide that are built around culture-specific vocabulary.
Here is an example of a class.
Class. Topic: Oralčimŋa gurgen (Work of reindeer herders), (Nikitina, 2015a, pp. 26-27).
Class objective: upbringing a respectful attitude to the reindeer herders' work by means of the culture-
Teacher's work methods and techniques: observation, description of objects, classification of deer
according to age and color, pair discussion, group discussion, generalization, making conclusions.
It is suggested to the children to watch the reindeer herders' work, to describe the places where the
herd of reindeer is pastured. Using the words oralčimŋa reindeer herders; oralčidai to pasture deer;
kōsčimŋe a day herder; yavčimŋa a night herder, the children make up a story about one working day of a
– Badikar amanni yavran? (What does father (brother) do in the morning?)
– Ineŋ yav nekkōtten? (What does he do during the day?)
ma'muriyatiga murojaat qiling